Career Advice

(Selectively) Ignoring Advice To Help Your Career

In a recent story at, NYC’s Most Powerful Women: How They Did It, Jeremy Smerd asserts: “The best career decisions sometimes come from ignoring the worst advice ….” In this article, he cites multiple examples of successful executives who dismissed advice to follow their instincts … and ultimately to create winning careers.

Dismissing Advice Worked for Me: I’ve Been There.

When I worked in corporate America, during my first year at a service-oriented company, a promotion opportunity arose. Chatting with another low-on-the-totem-pole colleague, the topic of this open job opportunity bubbled up.

She asserted , “You and I cannot apply because we’ve only been with the company a short time, and we don’t have enough experience,” to which I privately bristled and thought, “We’ll see about that.”

Her naysayer attitude sparked my ember of interest; I disregarded her ‘advice’ and became a serious contender, throwing my hat in the job-applicant ring. One month later, after soliciting career interviewing advice and practicing my ‘value stories,’ I beat out several internal, more-tenured candidates and another, external candidate that my then-current boss had recruited to try to deter me.

I landed the job!

Research Before You Leap: There is No One-Size-Fits-All Career Advice.

I encourage you to tend to your career in a similar fashion. Consider “sage” career advisors’ all-encompassing black-and-white assertions with a grain of salt (at first), and then sift out nuggets of career gold tips and strategies that make sense and/or which pique your interest; weave them into your unique, actionable career plan. Judge also the record—and tenure—of the career reporter from whom you are receiving your news. Research and seek out solid, foundational advice from someone deeply experienced and proven in the field about which he pontificates, and which resonates with YOU and your needs.

There IS no one-size-fits all, and the threads of your career plan should be uniquely intertwined to devise your differentiating strategy.

Unfortunately, the waves of unfiltered career advice spilling ashore litter your reading in-box with the sexiest and most popular advice, as well as tips that titillate, agitate and excite you into following the advice. This follower trend often leads to career missteps and job search stalls.

There are no Quick Solutions, Easy Fixes, Top 10 Ways, 3 Simple Strategies, #1 Methods to ensure a perfect job search plan, to create a faultless resume, to participate in a flawless interview, to write the always-effective elevator pitch, to guarantee a winning personal brand, to guarantee online superstardom … (the list goes on).

In fact, ask 10 resume writers, recruiters, hiring managers and human resource professionals what the ‘best practice’ is for ANY aspect of career propulsion, and you will get 10 answers.  I am a master certified professional resume writer, immersed in careers ‘advice’ (both dispensing and receiving), so I know of what I speak!

In other words, read, listen and apply all or parts of hand-selected (and well-researched) advice and consider investing in real, proven, experienced pros for help to advance job search traction.

And when you find yourself drowning in the sea of job search confusion, remember that the bottom line, age-old wisdom that applied 25 years ago still applies today (and perhaps more-so than ever): You must speak to the customer’s (hiring manager’s / hiring company’s) bottom-line needs:

  • Resonate with what matters to THEM.
  • Make THEM feel you ‘get them’ and you are ready to roll up your sleeves and fix their problem.
  • Be the salve to their wound.
  • Be the rescuer to their drowning revenues.
  • Be the repairer of their crumbling processes.
  • Be the marketing pioneer that swells market share and stamps out competitor challenges.
  • BE what THEY need and help them make money.

You will get their attention this way. I ‘guarantee it!’